Click Bait: Paul Rudd Edition

First off, let me begin by saying that Paul Rudd is one of my favorite actors.  He reminds me a lot of Chris Pratt, minus the occasional athleticism and seemingly boundless optimism.

I mention him because recently a bunch of sites–such as Deadline: Hollywood, though I am sure there’re others–have featured pictures of Rudd from Marvel Studios’ upcoming Ant-Man and…

Is it Rudd in the Ant-Man costume?  Perhaps facing off against Yellowjacket? Something to get fans over the seemingly earth shattering debacle of Edgar Wright being replaced by Peyton Reed?

No, it’s Paul Rudd being…Paul Rudd.  How awfully lame.  And I get it.  It’s supposedly a picture from the Ant-Man set, but how can you tell?  It could literally be a picture of Paul Rudd wondering anywhere, who’s to know?

‘The Book Of Life’ Trailer 1 & 2

Guillermo del Toro, coming off the success of How To Train Your Dragon 2 (it’s earned over $535 million worldwide) has also produced the upcoming The Book of Life.  Judging from the trailer it looks like it could be fun but I have a few caveats:  First, it’s a cartoon that revolves around the Mexican Day of the Dead, yet there’s only one main actor–Diego Luna–who’s Spanish (Zoe Saldana doesn’t count.  She was born in New Jersey and and later, when she was 10, moved to the Dominican Republic with her family).

Looking at the credits on IMDB that’s actually not the case, but I hope they don’t end up window-dressing in a movie that’s about an aspect of their culture.

Dancing Groot

For the one or two of you that have seen James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, this is the scene at the end (not the ‘button,’ or ‘stinger,’  only a tool would spoil that), and part of the reason why this is, so far, quite the most innovative Marvel movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

It’s such an odd, cute little scene, bursting with the love that screenwriters Gunn and Nicole Perlman clearly felt for the material.

See Warner Bros?  When you take something that under normal circumstances would be too treacly for words, and place it in the movie in a way that it serves a purpose and belongs, fans will get it.

 

‘Silent Hills’ Trailer

Typically when horror-maestro Guillermo Del Toro creates something I am one of the first to acknowledge the sheer awesomeness of his work because few directors, in my experience, have such an eye for the small details that make a movie, be it science fiction, horror, or whatever, particularly memorable.

His most recent project, a videogame that expands the universe of Silent Hill, called Silent Hills, I am not sure what to think about.  I should also mention that it didn’t help that the first time that I saw the trailer that someone was playing the game and talking over it as well.

Minus the additional soundtrack, the PT (playable trailer) appears pretty atmospheric, though only mildly creepy, which considering that it comes from Del Toro and Hideo Kojima, considered to be one of the most influential game designers, concerns me a bit.

Though seeing is not the same as playing, though the game may indeed be terrifying, in the tradition of Silent Hill.  Being that I don’t own a Playstation, here are Brian Altano and John Ryan of IGN playing it, and offering a running commentary.

Turtle Power Dominates Weekend Box Office

A few months ago I misread that prospects of Disney’s Maleficent, so I have been a bit leery about trying to predict the success of films that I don’t care for (in other words, just because I don’t think much of Angelina Jolie as an actress doesn’t mean that the films she stars in will necessarily be unsuccessful.  After all, I feel nothing but disdain for what Keanu Reeves calls ‘acting,’ yet it hasn’t stopped him for being quite successful at it).  So, imagine my surprise to learn that Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles earned an estimated $65 million from from Friday to Sunday.

I just don’t see the attraction myself, but clearly there are lots of people that do.

Guardians of the Galaxy is still performing quite strongly, earning $41.5 million.

And speaking of Guardians of the Galaxy, last week was James Gunn’s birthday, and what Marvel gave him was the Infinity Stone from the Guardians, which Gunn directed.

What an awesome gift.

James Gunn Birthday Gift from MarvelThe Infinity Stone from Guardians of the Galaxy

 

3 Hurdles Marvel’s ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Overcame To Be One Of The Biggest Movies Of The Summer

Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy opened in the United States last week, and looks to have a very bright future, seeing that based on advanced buzz along, Marvel has already locked in a sequel for 2017 while Thursday it earned $11.2 million, besting established franchises like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Captain America: The Winter Soldier for a Thursday debut.

Worldwide, its earned over $160 million; pretty impressive for a movie that’s based on a bunch of characters literally no one was familiar with before the movie.

Though what’s most interesting is how risky a venture it actually is, for I think three reasons:

  • First, there’s nothing like Guardians of the Galaxy.  Marvel Studios features, from Iron Man to The Avengers, have always featured a balance of action as well as humor.  That’s has always been a part of the Marvel formula, but Guardians is different.  Some have described it as a comedy, and while there’s plenty that funny, it’s more a case of viewers caring and being invested in the characters–particularly Groot and Rocket–that they come off as fully-realized characters that just happen to be a raccoon and an alien tree, as opposed to just a bunch of pixels.
  • Second, as many have stated prior, there are no recognizable characters in Guardians of the Galaxy (other than Thanos, and I think it’s reasonably same to assume that no one is seeing it for him–which is something that Sony should keep in mind before doing a movie based on The Sinister Six, most of whom are unknown to most viewers and whom are also villains) which goes without saying is a huge risk, made even more so when you take into account that it was directed by James Gunn, who prior directed two smaller films, Slither and Super, which cost 17.5 million to produce.

For both movies.  While Guardians cost $170 million.

And when you combine this fact with the fact that Gunn doesn’t particularly like making movies (around the 12: 58 mark) then the odds were more than even that Guardians could have potentially been Marvel’s weakest performer, if not a box office failure.

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Review

Guardians/Star Wars

It’s That’s Good.  You’re Welcome.

Let’s be clear about something:  James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy should not have worked, at least as well as Gunn (who co-wrote the screenplay with Nicole Perlman and directed) and Marvel Studios obviously think (and it’s clear that they are optimistic because based on early reviews a sequel as already been green lit for 2017).  Look at what it has going against it.  Gunn himself has directed two movies before, Slither, an interesting little horror comedy and Super, a not-so-interesting take on a superhero movie.

The lead actor, Chris Pratt hasn’t been the lead in ANY feature.  He’s carved out a pretty impressive niche on television, and pops up occasionally in movies though before now, never as a lead.

So we have an unproven lead on top of and two characters that are entirely computer-generated.  And if that weren’t bad enough, one of these computer generated actors literally says three words.  FOR THE ENTIRE MOVIE.  And while he’s voiced by Vin Diesel, you couldn’t tell that from watching the movie.

Oh yeah, and the other CG character is a raccoon.  A talking raccoon that has a fetish for anything that goes “Boom!”

And did I mention that one of the characters is also a wrestler–who isn’t the Rock–so who knows how things are going to come out.

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‘Housebound’ Trailer

The last movie I reviewed, Calvary, was a pretty good film, despite a lack of balance between dramatic and comedy elements.  I mention it because I think that I found a movie that gets it right.  Gerald Johnstone‘s Housebound revolves around a woman (the aptly named Morgana O’Reilly) as Kylie Bucknell, the partner of a not-too-competent criminal who’s caught while failing to rob an ATM.

I assume that she’s considered to be be just an accomplice, a first offender, or perhaps she’s underage because instead of going to prison she has to stay with her mother in the boonies, and wear one of those electronic anklets that inform the police if she leaves the residence.

And Kylie hates living with her mum, who appears a bit daft, though it appears that that’s the least of her problems.  The house seems to be haunted (her parents, for whatever reason, didn’t pick up on the signs, such as lights that go on and off for no apparent reason, doors that open without the presence of a draft or a person on the other side, etc) by a ghost with murderous intent.

As I said, it looks like fun because it’s all about balancing the humor with the horror.

‘Calvary’ Review

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 4.20.12 PM

John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary had a preview showing in Washington, DC, where the director as well as Brendan Glesson discussed not only what they were trying to do with the film, but the broader landscape that it existed in.

Interview

A discussion with John Michael McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson

There was a period for questions from the audience as well, which made for a pretty interesting evening.  It also had an (unfortunate) effect of highlighting what McDonagh was trying to do with Calvary, and was only occasionally successful at.

Which I will get into momentarily.

Brendan Gleeson plays Father James Lavelle, a Catholic priest in Ireland, who’s faith was his sword and shield in a world where he now serves as little more than a person of interest, of curiosity.  It’s an attitude that he contributes to, and seeming cultivates, seeing that he wears traditional Catholic vestment on virtually all occasions.

His clothing harkened back to a time when a Catholic priest was believed to virtually of unimpeachable morality, before the seemingly rampant pedophilia in the Church stained the reputations of all that promoted its teachings.

As you can probably tell, Calvary is a pretty serious film; and if that were it’s only goal, it could be called nothing less than a rousing success.

But McDonagh is more ambitious that than, which in this particular instance is problematic because Calvary also wants to be a comedy–admittedly of the very dark variety–and comes up short.

The problem is that the subject matter is so serious, so loaded with pathos, that the comedy has to be bold as well, and for the most part, it isn’t.  Though there is one moment, when Father Lavelle has a potentially violent encounter with Dr. Frank Hart (Aidan Gillen) that you could see where the film is trying to get to.

There are other instances and characters that are included for what I assume is primarily comedic effect, such as an altar boy, which works, and an odd parishioner, which doesn’t and brings to mind the two murdered twins from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining more than anything else.

And the movie needed more humor because it’s not an easy film, and it’s inclusion would have gone a long way toward justifying the ending, which is more Mel Gibsonesque that I would have expected.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Comic-Con Trailer

Originally I was going to open things up with the trailer for 50 Shades of Gray, but let’s be honest:  I don’t care about that movie, and if you’re reading this blog you probably don’t either.  And not that anyone asked, but–since I am being honest–the best thing that could have happened to Charlie Hunnam was leaving what looks to me potentially like a train wreck.

Based on his answers to the interviewer’s questions Hunnam should be in politics because few actors are so effortlessly self-effacting and diplomatic.

So, instead here’s the trailer for George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” from Comic-Con 2014, where the bondage is less about eroticism and more about…bondage.